Diversity & Inclusion
Mastercard supports black women-owned businesses
Since the worldwide Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, financial companies are putting more effort into supporting minority groups. The latest to do so is Mastercard – in February, the payments giant launched a new grant programme, designed to help black women-owned businesses. Evie Rusman writes
Between 2009 and 2019, just 0.24% of venture capital went to teams of Black entrepreneurs — 38 businesses in total. Within that, black female entrepreneurs experienced even poorer results, only receiving 0.02% of funding overall.
In addition, only one Black female entrepreneur received funding at Series A or B. In comparison, 194 white female entrepreneurs gained funding at Series A or B in the same period. These figures are particularly grim and cement the fact that things must change.
However, there is hope as more and more financial institutions are showing their support for black women-owned businesses. Mastercard’s new Strivers Initiative aims to elevate the visibility of Black female business owners overcoming obstacles to maintain and grow their business, as role models for the community and future generations.
The initiative includes a grant programme in partnership with Fearless Fund and will be complimented by a multi-city educational road show, driving awareness of the state of women and minority-owned business in cities across the U.S.
Cheryl Guerin, EVP Marketing and Communications in North America for Mastercard, says: “For years, Black women have built businesses at a pace far greater than any other minority group, with a focus on building businesses that give back to their communities.
“The pandemic has delivered financial headwinds that threaten the economic progress of Black female business owners and because of this, Mastercard is taking action, while also calling on consumers and corporates alike to shop, share and support these women.”
Adding to this, Arian Simone, General Partner and Co-Founder of Fearless Fund, says: “The gap in the number of minority women opening new businesses every day and the number of minority women receiving funding is astounding, and we look forward to not only reducing this disparity but also utilising Mastercard’s digital tools to help these business owners build their online presence.”
Mastercard ad ft. Jennifer Hudson
As part of the campaign, Mastercard rolled out a national ad campaign featuring Hollywood actress and singer Jennifer Hudson, who is already a Mastercard ambassador.
The advert sees Hudson perform her own rendition of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, produced by will.i.am.
“I am fortunate to have been influenced and inspired by so many incredible Black female role models as I’ve pursued my dreams, but that’s not always the case for all Black girls and women,” says Hudson.
“Entrepreneurship has always been a part of the American Dream and the work that Mastercard is doing to elevate these visible, strong Black Women business owners and highlight the support they’re providing our communities is hugely important to me and to the impact of future generations.”
Mastercard’s campaign coincided with Black History Month in the US, which took place in February, as well as International Women’s Day, which was on March 8.
Joining Mastercard in supporting black-women owned businesses is Visa. This month, Visa launched the She’s Next grant programme to help black women entrepreneurs navigate the pandemic.
Through the programme, Visa provides entrepreneurs with capital & coaching in a bid to enable more Black women-owned small businesses to continue making an impact with their product or service.
Furthermore, American Express has pledged $10m, over four years, in grants and training to support black owners as they recover from the pandemic.
Amex also has a new podcast called Built to Last, which features in-depth interviews with Black small business owners who are thriving despite the challenges they face.